Sermon for November 2002.
There aren’t many certainties, apart from death and taxes that is- and with electronic life slouching towards Bethlehem*, I’m not that sure about the former even.
The more that knowledge advances the less certainties there seem to be.
That pagan, Aristotle’s earth, air, water and fire theory, pathetically inadequate as it was, ruled for millennia, somehow even becoming a tenet of the Christian faith- so that some of those who had the temerity to question it’s validity had a one-on-one experience with the last of these “elements”.
Then along came Newton with his laws of motion that straightened things out for a while.
Until Einstein, who twisted everything up again- but just possibly described a universe that is consistent and understandable (by someone perhaps, but not by me).
Then some of the consequences and contradictions of quantum effects crept up on us and all hope of ever having the foggiest idea what’s going on was gone like an undetectable neutrino into an unsurvivable black hole.
Quantum mechanics requires mental gymnastics about as weird as believing in “natural” medicine and “organics”.** Come to think of it, the non- organic universe has some fairly deadly tricks also- maybe death will yet give taxes a run for it’s money in the certainty stakes.
Me, I’m just a kiteflier- but kite festivals mirror the physical world; that is, they can be life threatening (not just the partying either), and they are definitely taxing, but nothing else is certain anymore:
My previous experience of US kite festivals has been, with some notable exceptions, either no wind or too much wind and particularly of endless talking but not much kite flying (that is, AKA conventions)
Well, I’ve just been to two excellent events there (or as David Gomberg would say it, “rooly ixalent” ) and one of them was the 25th AKA convention in Ocean City, Maryland.
The first event, Tom McAlisters Mix ‘96 at Sacramento was a success in spite of my contribution- or rather, lack of it. I was supposed to have the Mega Ray there but only some bits of it arrived in time (and they only made it as far as San Francisco). Never mind, everyone pitched in and did a great show- helped a lot by good wind even though the site is small, sheltered and inland.
Ocean City was even better- I could best compare it with an Italian festival- high praise indeed! There were probably some participants who spent their time there in meetings, workshops and other talk fests but not me- I was either on the beach flying or eating and socialising.
Meg Albers had cleverly booked all the first floor front rooms of a hotel next to and overlooking the flying beach for a like minded group of old friends.
She had also cleverly arranged for the weather and wind to be as near perfect as it is possible to be- much different from what it was like when I was last there in October, 25 years ago, that’s for sure.
All I had to do each morning was roll out of bed, drag some kites down the direct access stairs from the balcony to the beach and let them fall up into the sky. I’d then wander around gossiping with other kite fliers until returning to the on going party-on-the-balcony from where I could spy on other peoples kites and keep an occasional eye on mine until it was time to put away in the evening. The flying was wonderful, the company was also. After Ocean City there was an organised side trip to Gettysburg, hosted by a kiteflier who’s other passion is the detailed history of this, the deciding battle of the American civil war.
It was there that Lincoln posed the defining question of the, then very new, institution of democracy: “-whether a nation so founded can long endure” In his carefully refined address***which is now regarded as perhaps the finest speech ever made, he also said something like: “-what I say here will be little noted nor long remembered, but the deeds of those who died here will live forever.”-100% wrong as it turned out- within a generation the sacrifices of those who died there were largely forgotten but Lincoln’s words have endured, as has democracy. Oh well thought you just might like to know this.
Now I know that kiteflying in the USA can be so stimulating and so much fun I’ll have to get there more often- whoops, I can hear the groans even from here!
* Just to keep up the literary pretensions, this alludes to a line (from Coleridge?): “What rough beast, it’s hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.”
** The hopelessly naive proponents of “organics” believe in the malevolency of the inorganic universe but the intrinsic benignity of the organic universe when the former are just dumb rocks and stuff while the latter (including our own species) has had 4.5 billion years of evolution developing every possible devious way to kill me, and you.
***It’s a myth that it was hastily written on the back of an envelope on the way there.
Peter Lynn, Ashburton
There are new models of the pilot kites- small improvements just about every week lately.
The full range of Guerrilla’s is imminent; 10G. 12G, 15G, and 18G.
And, Arc development has changed up into another gear in the last few months- largely as the design programs we have been developing have taken over from the earlier intuitive and ad hoc methods. So, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
And and, Volker Hoberg is here for 6months, on loan from No Limits, to help in the development of a new range of single line inflatable theme kites and in the refinement of our existing designs.